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Cardinals’ Albert Pujols, who grew up in Kansas City, becomes fourth player to reach 700-homerun milestone

Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals this weekend became just the fourth player in history to hit 700 career homeruns. The outspoken Christian attended Fort Osage High School and Maple Woods Community College in the Kansas City area.

He reached the milestone with two homeruns in the same game against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

“It’s amazing how God works,” Pujols said, according to Fox News. “This could’ve happened last week in St. Louis, which probably would have been awesome. But to allow it to happen tonight, having my family and friends and people who really care and love me see me, it’s special to me.”

The veteran first baseman, who returned to St. Louis for what he knew would be his final season, has been chasing 700 since opening day. With just a few games left of regular season play, he made it happen in Los Angeles against the team he had played with just a season earlier.

Pujols earned his first trip around the bases in the third inning off a two-strike fastball from Los Angeles lefthander Andrew Heaney. His second came just one inning later off a hanging slider from righthander Phil Bickford. He was all smiles as he rounded the bases, and immediately bypassed several of his own teammates to plant a double high-five on fellow (retired) Dominican baseball legend Adrian Beltre.

Pujols shared hugs with teammates and Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright before taking a moment for himself in an empty hallway behind the dugout. “My emotions came out,” he said in Spanish. Pujols noted that part of what made the milestone so meaningful was the fact that he had been able to hit his 700th at Dodger stadium where his five children could be there to see it:

“It’s pretty special,” he said. “When it’s really gonna hit me is when I’m done, at the end of the season, when I’m retired and probably a moment or two after that I can look at the numbers. Look, don’t get me wrong, I know what my place is in this game. But since day one, when I made my debut, it was never about numbers, it was never about chasing numbers. It was always about winning championships and trying to get better in this game.”

Pujols joins just three other Major League players — Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds — to record at least 700 home runs over the course of their career.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice